Charles Stanley – Unrighteous Anger

James 1:19-20

Anger can shut down communication and break relationships apart. If suppressed, this emotion can turn into resentment, which poisons our thinking and behavior. Unchecked, it can boil over into an explosive expression of rage that hurts not only the intended recipient but others as well.

While we can think of many reasons to justify our anger, the only viewpoint that matters is the Lord’s. The book of Proverbs offers insight into how God views angry people. He says they act foolishly (Prov. 14:17), stir up strife (Prov. 15:18), and commit transgressions (Prov. 29:22). He also warns us not to associate with such individuals (Prov. 22:24). In contrast, those who are slow to anger have great understanding (Prov. 14:29) and demonstrate wisdom (Prov. 29:8Prov. 29:11). Keeping one’s distance from strife also shows honor (Prov. 20:3).

In the New Testament, the apostle James compared the tongue to a small spark that can set a whole forest on fire (James 3:5-6). He knew the damage a furious person could do. He also wrote that our anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires for us, nor does it fit who we are in Christ. Jesus paid our sin debt with His life in order to set us free from sinful behavior patterns and their repercussions.

There were a few instances when Jesus became angry, but they were fully in line with the Father’s purposes. In us, however, anger is usually born out of self-defense, hurt feelings, or thwarted desires. If the Lord has convicted you of unrighteous anger, confess that sin and allow the Spirit to reproduce Christ’s character in you.

Bible in One Year: Daniel 1-2

 

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Our Daily Bread — Ready for the Wedding

Read: Matthew 25:1-13

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 13-15; 2 Corinthians 5

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.—Matthew 25:13

“I’m hungry,” said my eight-year-old daughter. “I’m sorry,” I said, “I don’t have anything for you. Let’s play tic-tac-toe.” We had been waiting over an hour for the bride to arrive at the church for what was supposed to be a noon wedding. As I wondered how much longer it would be, I hoped I could occupy my daughter until the wedding started.

As we waited, I felt like we were enacting a parable. Although the vicarage where we live is a stone’s throw from the church, I knew if I went to fetch some crackers, the bride could come at any moment and I would miss her entrance. As I employed many distraction techniques with my hungry daughter, I also thought about Jesus’s parable about the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13). Five came prepared with enough oil for their lamps to stay lit as they waited for the bridegroom, but five did not. Just as it was too late for me to dash back to the vicarage, so it was too late for the young women to go and buy more oil for their lamps.

Jesus told this parable to emphasize that we need to be prepared, for when He comes again we will give an account over the state of our hearts. Are we waiting and ready? —Amy Boucher Pye

What does waiting for Jesus’s return look like in your life? Have you left something undone that you could attend to today?

We need to be ready for Christ to come again.

INSIGHT: David Wenham, in his book The Parables of Jesus, comments on the parable of the ten virgins: “It speaks of waiting for the coming of the master—in this case the bridegroom—and of being prepared or unprepared for one’s appointed task and of being rewarded or punished . . . . This is a particularly suggestive picture of the outcome of final judgment.” We don’t know when we will see the Bridegroom. Perhaps we will be alive and looking for Him when he returns or we will be raised from the dead and meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-17). What is important is that we are ready when He comes.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Overwhelming Rejection

There are those who say that lukewarm acceptance is more bewildering than outright rejection. I always wonder if they have ever heard the story of the Syrophoenician woman.

Jesus was on his way to a place where no one would recognize him. From the chaos of Jerusalem and the crowds of Galilee he withdrew to the region of Tyre. According to one of his disciples, when he had entered a house, he wanted no one to know of it. Yet, he did not escape notice. A Gentile woman of the Syrophoenician race immediately fell at his feet and began to cry out, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But he did not answer her a word.(1)

In the lives of those who believe in God, rejection is always a distinct possibility. Of course, this is not to say that God is rejecting us personally. As Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:36). And yet, in the barren silence after years of praying for a child, in the slamming of a door that held a real and certain hope, in the wordless dismissal of a mother brought to her knees, the rejection is indeed personal.

But this woman at Jesus’s feet did not turn away at the first sign of his refusal. She was not deterred by the disciples’ request that she be sent away, nor was she convinced to cease her plea after the harsh words that finally did break Jesus’s silence:  “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Being a Gentile, she was not one of them. Lesser rejections have certainly brought me to crumbled mess. Yet even this was not a thought that would dissuade her. Bowing down before him, she pled once more, “Lord, help me!”

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John MacArthur – Strength for Today – Focusing on Scripture and the Lord

“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

We must focus on God and His Word as we begin to walk by the Spirit.

Paul’s directive to the Galatians in today’s verse may sound like an impractical platitude. But to the apostle this command was a foundational truth for how all Christians should live their daily lives. The Greek for “walk” could be translated, “keep on continually walking.” Life transpires one day at a time, and believers should routinely take each day one step at a time.

In walking by the Holy Spirit, our chief opposition is our own flesh (Gal. 5:17). Therefore, it is crucial that we possess the scriptural strategy for our spiritual walk and that we know how to practically and effectively carry it out.

The first part of our strategy has to be a daily intake of God’s Word. Psalm 1:2 says that the man who walks on a godly path will “delight . . . in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Meditation (patiently and thoroughly reflecting on a passage of Scripture) helps us effectively seal the Word in our hearts so we can obediently apply it and minister it in accordance with God’s Spirit.

Secondly, if we want to walk by the Spirit, we must focus on God and allow Him to renew our minds. The key is found in Paul’s familiar command: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). The believer who lives that way will undoubtedly walk by the Spirit because he will also be one who worships God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). As one Bible teacher so aptly phrased it, “Find me a worshiper of God, and I will show you a stable man with his mind in control, ready to meet the present hour with refreshment from above.”

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray today that the Lord would help you to begin removing everything from your life that is preventing you from worshiping Him wholeheartedly.

For Further Study

Joshua 1:8; Psalm 19:7-8; John 8:31-32; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 2:15; and Hebrews 4:12 all refer to God’s Word. Read them and write down all the different things they say about the importance of Scripture.

What should motivate you to have a better intake of the Word?

 

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Wisdom Hunters – Protected by Angels

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Revelation 7:1

Angels are at our Heavenly Father’s beckoning. They are poised at His prompting to support, protect and care for His children. Jesus could have called on a company of heavenly help, but He resisted and remained in the crucible of the Cross. He had an out for His suffering, however His great love led Him to sacrifice His life, so He could save mankind from sin. God’s angel armies are His agents who minister to our needs, but they may or may not deliver us from harm.

The Lord will deploy His angels to delay judgment in order for the 144,000 Jewish believers in Jesus to be sealed as servants of God. The destruction of the earth is stayed until souls are saved—their white robes cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. The elder explained to John (v. 14) how these Jewish Christians were survivors of the great tribulation—but now they gratefully serve God day and night, before His throne in His temple. God’s angels provide personal protection.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).

Your Father in heaven has His angels assigned to your well being. They constantly experience the glory of God, so they can surround you with His glory. Since your angels see the face of the Lord, they are your support to face your difficulties. You have no need to fear, because the God of angel armies stands beside you, in front of you, behind you, above you and below you. You are covered by His host of angels. Thank the Lord of Hosts for His help in your time of need.

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Today’s Turning Point with David Jeremiah – Thorny Problems

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

2 Corinthians 12:7

Recommended Reading

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

In his book, My Thorn in the Flesh, Vietnam War veteran Bobby D. Gayton writes about his battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In his struggle, he identifies with the apostle Paul, who pleaded with the Lord to remove his “thorn,” but God simply said, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). For Gayton, PTSD is his thorn in the flesh.

Paul didn’t identify the “thorn” he was battling, but we can sum it up like this: A “thorn in the flesh” is a point of struggle or suffering we’d rather avoid, which God, in His wisdom, allows to go on. He uses it to produce in us a humility that casts our reliance on His all-sufficient grace.

We may not have all our infirmities removed. Yet through our pain and weakness, God’s power and purpose can be revealed. His grace is sufficient. Don’t be discouraged by the struggle. Keep your focus on God and His grace.

The specific purpose of the thorn in the flesh, as Professor F. F. Bruce put it, is to puncture your pride.

  1. T. Kendall

Read-Thru-the-Bible

Daniel 6 – 8

 

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

Joyce Meyer – Happiest When Helping

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.— 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

A study on the principle of the Golden Rule was conducted by Bernard Rimland, director of the Institute for Child Behavior Research. Each person involved in the study was asked to list 10 people he knew best and to label them as happy or not happy. Then they were to go through the list again and label each one as selfish or unselfish. Rimland found that all the people labeled happy were also labeled unselfish. “The happiest people are those who help others,” he concluded.

God gives us the ability and opportunities to help others all throughout the day. When we take the time to be a blessing, it causes us to focus less on what we don’t have, feel grateful for what we do have, and experience a new level of joy in the process. Don’t let a day go by without helping someone.

Prayer of Thanks: Father, I am thankful that You give me opportunities every day to be a blessing to others. You’ve blessed me with so much. I want to use what You have given me to bless someone else today.

From the book The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Girlfriends in God – What’s Holding You Back From Moving Forward?

Today’s Truth

The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

Exodus 4:11-12

Friend to Friend

When I was six years old, I skipped off to first grade with a fresh box of crayons, a crisp green dress with Swiss polka dots sleeves, and a fresh hope that I would be good enough—that someone would at least like me. But first grade only confirmed my fears. I wasn’t good enough after all.

From the time my teacher held up the first spelling flash card, I knew I was in trouble. Back in the day, kindergarten focused on coloring, playing, and napping. But first grade was a whole new ballgame with letters, numbers, and words. First grade had flash cards.

I remember one exercise that makes my palms clammy even today. We lined our miniature wooden chairs up in a row like a choo-choo train. The conductor, Mrs. Morgan, held up a spelling flash card for the lead passenger to identify.

If he or she could not correctly decipher the word on the card, that passenger lost the lead seat and had to go sit in the caboose. I spent most of the first grade in the caboose. I could not spell to save my life.

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Ray Stedman – Peace With God

Read: Romans 5:1-2

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

The first thing that you learn as a Christian is that you are justified by faith. To help us understand what that means, the apostle brought in the example of Abraham in chapter four. Before the Law was given, Abraham was justified by faith. He was declared to be acceptable to God. He was God’s friend. Abraham didn’t earn that. He was given that right at the beginning of his relationship with God, when he believed God. That is what faith means. When Abraham believed that God could and would do what he had promised, Abraham was declared the friend of God and he entered into that close relationship with God that characterized his life. That is what it means to be justified by faith. You receive this with no merit on your part, but by faith alone, by believing God’s promise, according to the work of his Son. That is justification.

Then, Paul says, there is a way by which you can test whether you really do believe that and have been justified by faith: Since we have been justified by faith, the sure result is that we have peace with God. As you think about your life and your relationship with God, if you really have believed that God justifies the ungodly, you will have peace with God. You are in the family of God. The war is over. All the conflict between you and God is ended; you are at peace with him.

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Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – Reversed Thunder

Read: Revelation 8:1-5

The prayers of the saints . . . rose . . . and there were peals of thunder. (vv. 4-5)

Eugene Peterson borrowed the words “reversed thunder” for the title of his book about the Revelation of St. John. He took it that in coining this phrase, George Herbert must have had in mind the beginning of Revelation 8, where John is about to first hear the seven trumpets of warning sounded and then see the seven bowls of punishment poured out. The agonized pleas with which the saints have besieged God cannot but bring results; sooner or later their thunderous assault on the gates of heaven is assuredly going to bring a thunderous response. As John puts it, when from the angel’s censer the prayers of the church rise up to the throne of God, hot with indignation at the evils sin has wrought, from the same censer his answering anger will be hurled down upon the wicked world that has fostered them.

In fact it would be wickedly wrong for the church not to pray fervently against such evils. Because for all our efforts to confront these things directly, it’s the words we address to God that bounce back with supernatural force, so that the world will not be able to help hearing them. Praying against evil is like the “slingshot effect” of sending a space probe past one of the outer planets so as to give it the terrific extra impetus by which it will reach its target.

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Greg Laurie – Why the Rapture Is Important

Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. —1 Thessalonians 4:17

What exactly is the rapture? Mark Hitchcock, an excellent writer on all things prophetic, wrote this outstanding definition: “The rapture of the church is that future event when Jesus Christ will descend from heaven to resurrect the bodies of departed believers and to transform and translate the bodies of living believers immediately into His glorious presence in a moment of time and then escort them to heaven to live with Him forever.” That is very clearly stated, and it’s exactly right.

Some will protest and say, “Wait a second. You can’t find the word rapture anywhere in the Bible.” That all depends what kind of Bible you are reading. If you happen to read a Latin translation, you will find the word rapturo, which is the Latin translation of the original Greek word harpazo.

This word is used thirteen times in the New Testament, including 1 Thessalonians 4:17, which says, “We who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” The word harpazo is translated “to take forcibly, to snatch, or to catch up.”

Why is it important to know about the rapture? As I have said before, Bible prophecy is not given to scare us but to prepare us.

Paul tells the Thessalonians, “We want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.” Paul is reassuring them that there will be a reunion with loved ones who have died in the Lord. Better yet, when the rapture happens, we will also be united with Jesus.

Knowing about the rapture brings us hope. That is why Paul’s teaching on the rapture ends with the exhortation to “encourage each other with these words.”

 

https://www.harvest.org/

Kids 4 Truth International – God Is Everywhere We Go

“Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalm 139:3-7)

“This is the conductor, Brittany. His name is Mr. Ben. He’ll take care of you during your train ride, honey.” Brittany’s dad handed her suitcase to the man with the blue uniform and scruffy mustache. Slowly, she reached up to shake Mr. Ben’s hand, but he was already turning to lead her up the little staircase and into the coach car of the train.

Her dad hugged her good-bye and held onto her shoulders for a second. “Remember what we talked about. Mom and Grandpa and them will be waiting for you at the station. If you need anything during the trip, ask Mr. Ben. He knows where the restrooms and the dining car are.”

Brittany nodded her head.

“You OK?”

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The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Only Objective Authority

Today’s Scripture: Acts 14:3

“The Lord . . . bore witness to the word of his grace.”

We don’t understand just how the Holy Spirit interacts with our human spirit, but we do know he most often uses his Word. He brings to our mind some Scripture particularly appropriate to the situation. He may do this through a sermon, a Christian book, the encouraging words of a friend, or our own reading or study of Scripture. In my case, since I’ve memorized so many Scriptures over the years, he often brings to my mind a memorized verse.

In Acts 20:32, Paul said to the Ephesian elders, “now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). Earlier in verse 24, Paul had referred to “the Gospel of the grace of God,” the good news of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. In verse 32, however, as he speaks of “the Word of his grace, which is able to build you up,” the reference is to the ongoing use of Scripture in our daily lives to build us up in the Christian faith. Paul specifically called this “the word of his grace,” the Word through which we come to understand and appropriate God’s grace in our daily lives.

The Bible is not merely a book about God; it is a book from God. “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV). The Bible is God’s self-revelation to us all. He wants us to know about himself and his provision for our salvation and our spiritual growth. It is God’s only objective, authoritative communication to us. (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)

 

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The Navigators – Leroy Eims – Daily Discipleship Devotional – Overcoming the World

Today’s Scripture: 2 Peter 1:3-4

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. – 1 John 5:4

Most people have heard about OCD–obsessive compulsive disorder–that can manifest itself in all kinds of phobias. Some people are so afraid of germs and viruses that they can’t even shake hands with people for fear of being contaminated. And that’s a mild case of OCD.

Friend, I’ve seen that happen in the spiritual realm. I’ve seen people get so frightened by the power of the Devil or the dangers all around us in this world that they become immobilized by fear and isolate themselves. Now, it’s certainly true this world is a powerful enemy. We don’t want to be naïve about that. But sometimes it lures us rather than repels us. Just look what happened to Demas. He was one of Paul’s fellow laborers, along with such stalwarts as Mark and Luke. But something happened, and Paul wrote to Timothy, “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me” (2 Timothy 4:10). If the pull of the world is powerful enough to cause a colaborer of Paul to leave the cause of Christ and give the rest of his life to living for the world, we’d better watch out!

There are people out there–false prophets–who would lead you astray. But you can overcome them and the lifestyle they propose, not by sealing yourself off from the world, but by staying close to Christ. Remember the words of the apostle John: “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Prayer

Lord, I praise You for Your victory over sin and death–and the world. Amen.

To Ponder

Although we no longer have to fear what the world can do to us, we do have to remain wise to its lures.

 

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BreakPoint – The Measure of a Man: What’s Missing from the Masculinity Debate

Are we in the midst of a masculinity crisis? Two Christian writers offered very different answers to this question in recent articles. David French at National Review laments a new statistic that shows today’s young men are, physically, the weakest generation in recorded history.

“If you’re the average Millennial male,” he writes, “your dad is stronger than you are. In fact, you may not be stronger than the average Millennial female…The very idea of manual labor is alien to you, and even if you were asked to help, say, build a back porch, the task would exhaust you to the point of uselessness. Welcome to the new, post-masculine reality.”

Chandler Epp replied to French in a guest column at Religion News Service, arguing that the idea of masculinity being equivalent to physical strength is misguided.

“Popular Christian notions of manhood,” he writes, “shame, repel, and ruin too many young boys and men who fail to meet those standards” and who don’t gravitate toward “‘typical’ masculine behaviors.” He concludes, “We must recover the idea that the marker of a true man is his moral strength, not his muscular fitness.”

Now I know personally both Chandler and French, and I have a lot of respect for them both. In fact, they both demonstrate that sort of moral strength Chandler talks about in his piece.

Continue reading BreakPoint – The Measure of a Man: What’s Missing from the Masculinity Debate

Moody Global Ministries – Today in the Word – AN EVIL ORDER

Read ESTHER 3:12–15

In William Shakespeare’s Othello, the character of Iago epitomizes evil. He will do anything to gain power, no matter whom he must destroy. He pretends to be sincere while manipulating others into committing terrible crimes. Iago deceives Othello into believing that his wife, Desdemona, has been unfaithful, a lie that results in their tragic deaths. No matter how destructive his actions, Iago shows no remorse.

Today’s passage reads like a terrible nightmare. Haman, the vain and evil palace advisor, had secured the king’s permission to eliminate the Jewish people. The decree, signed and sealed during the first month, was to be carried out on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month. The Jewish people had eleven months to live.

Within the timespan of a single day, they would be decimated. Note the viciousness of this plan: “destroy, kill and annihilate” (v. 13). The order did not just apply to the leaders of the Jewish people but to everyone: young and old, women and children. And, just as Haman had desired, they would “plunder” the belongings of the Israelites.

The decree was written in every language, delivered to every location, and distributed to every leader. It was sealed by the signet ring that King Xerxes had given to Haman. As the proclamation was delivered to the furthest locations and read in every tongue, shock and fear prevailed.

Meanwhile, Haman had no remorse. Instead, he celebrated: “The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered” (v. 15). He was willing to pay any price to soothe his own vanity. In eleven months, the Jewish people would be destroyed.

APPLY THE WORD

Many of us have received devastating news—a job layoff, a terrible medical diagnosis, or a betrayal by a friend. Just like Haman’s pronouncement, these are truly horrible events, and God does not ask us to pretend otherwise. But thankfully we can know that devastating news never catches Him off guard. He is still present and still cares for us.

 

http://www.todayintheword.org

Denison Forum – NEW MISS AMERICA IS A CHRISTIAN

There is much we could discuss in today’s news. Hillary Clinton is being treated for pneumonia after her sudden exit from a 9/11 ceremony in New York City. North Korea’s recent nuclear test is still making headlines. “Sully” was the winner at the North American box office over the weekend. The NFL’s first full Sunday of action produced several surprises (Dallas Cowboys fans are still frustrated this morning by our loss, but that’s another subject).

However, I’d like to focus for a moment on Savvy Shields, who was named Miss America 2017 last night. She is an art major at the University of Arkansas and won the talent competition with her jazz dance. And she is a Christian. She prayed for her fellow contestants before the competition and noted on her Instagram, “God is so much greater than we can imagine.”

It is encouraging when people with beauty, talent, and charisma make their faith public. But here’s the downside: we can mistakenly think we must be successful to be useful to God. Our challenges and failures can discourage us from serving Jesus.

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